The Reverend William D. Watley, Ph.D. is the Senior Pastor of St. James A.M.E. Church in Newark, where he has served since 1984. During his tenure, Dr. Watley has increased membership by more than 3,000 bringing the membership to 6,000 parishioners. He established St. James Social Services Corporation, which serves as the umbrella organization for various outreach programs such as the feeding program, which provides meals for 287,000 homeless people each year. The Intergenerational After School Program, The Safe Haven Summer Camp and vast expansion of the Be A Blessing Holiday Food and Toy Distribution Campaigns are social outreach programs initiated by Dr. Watley. He defined the vision for and founded St. James Preparatory School, a state-of-the-art middle and high school for grades 7-12.
Dr. Watley is an innovative worship leader who has made the Wednesday "Sweet Hour of Praise" Service world renown for its dynamic worship and inspirational messages. The service, in its fourteenth year has grown from one worshipper to nearly eight hundred weekly.
Before coming to St. James, Dr. Watley served as pastor of the Elberton Circuit in Elberton, Georgia from 1969-71, Union A.M.E. Church in Flushing, New York from 1974-78. He was also a counselor for the Migrant Voluntary Improvement Program in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in the summer of 1969 and the Director of the Summer Youth Employment Program in Flushing, New York in 1978.
Teaching extensively over the same period, Dr. Watley served as President and Distinguished Professor of Religion of Paul Quinn College in Waco, Texas and was a visiting professor at the New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey between 1983 and 1987. Dr. Watley was also an Adjunct Professor of Theology at the New York Theological Seminary from 1985-86 and a visiting professor at the Princeton Theological Seminary from 1988-92.
A preacher par excellence, Dr. Watley received the distinction of being invited to be the conference preacher at the Hampton University Ministers' Conference for two consecutive years. A prolific author, Dr. Watley has written a dozen books and has authored several booklets and articles throughout the past two decades.
In January 2002, Dr. Watley was the first African American to be appointed Chief Executive Officer and Secretary of the New Jersey Commerce & Economic Growth Commission responsible for implementing considerable aspects of New Jersey's economic policy.
Dr. Watley received his Bachelor of Arts in Theology from St. Louis University in 1968 and a Master of Divinity from the Interdenominational Theological Center in 1971. He received a Master of Philosophy in 1977 and his Doctor of Philosophy-Ethics in1980 from Columbia University in 1981 and the Ecumenical Institute in Celigny, Switzerland in 1983. He has done post-doctoral research at Harvard's Institute for Educational Management.
Books/Products By This Author
- Bring the Full Tithe
- Exalting the Names of Jesus
- From Mess to Miracle and Other Sermons
- God Wants You to Grow! How to Live Beyond Your Limitations
- Poems of a Son, Prayers of a Father
- Preaching in Two Voices: Sermons on the Women in Jesus' Life
- Sermons on Special Days
- The African Presence in the Bible
- You Have to Face It to Fix It: Sermons on the Challenges of Life
- Bring the Full Tithe [Used copy]
- Exalting the Names of Jesus [Used copy]
- God Wants You to Grow! How to Live Beyond Your Limitations [Used copy]
- Poems of a Son, Prayers of a Father [Used copy]
- Roots of Resistance: The Nonviolent Ethic of Martin Luther King, Jr. [Used copy]
- Sermons from the Black Pulpit [Used copy]